Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Julian McDaniel

MA Student


Julian received his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Tennessee in the Spring of 2019. He is currently working toward his M.A. in the department of anthropology. For the past two years, Julian has been working on a research project with Dr. Raja Swamy and fellow graduate student Thomas Tran that explores the ways in which Hurricane Harvey has impacted the lives of residents living in Houston, Texas. Specifically, their work examines the historical production of Houston’s industrial landscape, the struggle for environmental justice and the workings of power in post-disaster contexts. 

His thesis project examines the ways in which the disaster recovery processes disrupt and complicate processes of recovery from substance abuse. Set in Houston, Texas, and funded by the SARIF research grant, the research will begin in the Summer of 2020. Through ethnographic engagement with addicts in recovery, substance abuse counselors, and local policy makers, Julian seeks to problematize popular understandings of the recovery concept due to its reliance on a flawed teleology and bourgeois associations. Additionally, he hopes to develop a substantial critique of standardized 12 step programs, the institutionalization and medicalization of addicted bodies, and advocates for the radical reorganization of recovery spaces that defy the biopolitical exertions of the state. The ultimate goal is to imagine new and more appropriate avenues of recovery for addicted bodies who are unable to navigate exclusive, heteronormative, hegemonic spaces of recovery.


Research interests: Critical theory, addiction studies, disaster studies, psychological anthropology, trauma, social inequalities, medical imperatives, radical solidarity formations, mutual aid

Houston After Harvey: A Critical Disaster Studies Project